But being designers with ideas of their own, they weren’t quite ready to buy a single off-the-shelf box. Instead, they bought two boxes – a two-bedroom unit and a studio unit – and connected them with a glass-enclosed hallway, for a total of about 2,300 square feet, at a cost of about $230 a square foot.
Within that shell, Mr. Caudill and Mr. Rink were able to divide the interior exactly as they pleased. They turned the studio unit into their master suite and carved the other unit up into an open living, dining and kitchen area with a fireplace, two additional bedrooms and a bathing area with two walk-in showers, two toilet rooms and a shared double vanity in a hallway.
“I call it a camp bathroom,” Mr. Rink said. “Four to six people could be using that bathroom at the same time, which is great when you have a house full of guests.”
As Mr. Caudill said, “Having things be a little more communal fit with how we live and entertain.”
They waxed the pine and cedar frames around doorways and floor-to-ceiling windows for a natural look, and painted the walls, ceilings and much of the cabinetry a single deep color: Benjamin Moore’s Dark Pewter.
“It makes the interior more neutral, and the lake view and trees stand out,” Mr. Caudill said.
“It has a green cast to it, and you get different colors at different times of day,” Mr. Rink added. “Sometimes it looks blue, sometimes gray, sometimes bright green. And then at night, it looks black.”
To furnish the house, they reconfigured many pieces. “We like to take things and make them our own,” Mr. Caudill said.
They found a worn vintage Milo Baughman sectional sofa and used mismatched remnants from a discount fabric store, bought for about $3 a yard, to reupholster the cushions in different materials. With the resulting mix, Mr. Caudill said, “there’s no fear” — even when the couple’s poodles, Louise and Pubert, jump up on the sofa. “If one pillow gets beat up, you can just recover it.”
The numerous rusted industrial pendant lamps once hung in a Detroit factory; the couple had them refinished with black powder coating on the outside and silver leaf on the inside, to install in the hallway and dining area.
Since moving in nearly a year ago, Mr. Caudill and Mr. Rink have settled into a routine. On warm, sunny days, they take stairs down to the rocky beach at a neighboring park, while “in the winter, we’ll just build a fire and spend an entire weekend without even leaving the house,” Mr. Caudill said.
They also made the home a place to unplug: there is no internet service, and when they want to listen to music, they play records on a turntable.
“It really is a place for us just to shut down,” Mr. Caudill said. Even the long drive up from Farmington Hills, he added, helps them clear their minds: “It’s a time for us to recharge and get creative.”